You should consider an IME or an IMO
We've An Independent Medical Examination or an Independent Medical Opinion
will often make the difference when the details of your claim aren't clear.
The physician who conducts such an exam is a neutral observer and an expert in disability medicine.
Click here to learn more about these exams.
Proceed With Caution
Any time we ask VA to open our file to make any adjustment, we open ourselves
up to a complete review of all ratings. Many veterans get an unpleasant surprise
when they discover that their request for an increase leads to a proposal to decrease a rating.
You have an absolute right to be rated appropriately for each disabling
condition you may have incurred during your honorable military service.
If you feel that your rating is not correct for your condition, by all means seek an increase.
Before you do...be sure that you can't lose.
Check your current condition's symptoms against the standards you
find in The Schedule For Rating Disabilities. Match your physical or
mental health status to the ones you find there.
If you are confident that you can prove your entitlement to a higher rating, go for it.
If not, sometimes sleeping dogs are best left to just lie there.
Speak With A
Veterans Law Attorney
An Expert Physician
Case Evaluations Are
America's Leading Resource For
Military Veterans News & Benefits Information
Over Ten Years of Service to America's Military Veterans
Since 2005 This Is The Site VA Reads When They
Want To Learn What They've Been Doing
Match Your Disability To The Ones You'll
Find In The Schedule To Determine Your Rating
Fax us toll free
Things You'll Need
Research Your Claim
VA Benefits for Sleep Apnea
as a service
connection to PTSD
Brett Valette, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Do It Yourself
You Do NOT Need A Representative
Determine exactly what your current ratings are before you proceed.
Dig out those original award letters so that you know exactly what sort
of benefits and ratings you have. Don't just guess at it, get the facts. You may need
Look at the ratings table for your existing benefit.
is your guide to what you may be eligible for.
You may learn that your current rating is already at the maximum or that you're
current rating is seriously deficient. You have to research it to know.
Gather your evidence and records to support the increase.
If there are civilian medical records, you have to gather those for yourself.
Do not rely on VA to obtain your civilian records.
Consider having an IMO completed.
The IMO is the most efficient way to provide evidence in support of your claim.
It's time to file the claim.
Be as precise as you can to describe just what it is that you want.
Provide supporting evidence.
Congratulations! You're done.
Do you have a temporary 100% TDIU rating?
Do you need it raised to 100% Permanent and Total so that you may collect
I asked a senior RVSR (Ratings Veterans Service Representative-a rater)
to comment on this topic. Many VAWatchdog visitors are writing in to ask why they aren't
P & T and why they don't have the 100% P & T benefits? Most of those disabled
veterans have a mental health problem as their highest rating.
Most are under the age of 55 years old.
I asked the rater why he doesn't offer a 100% rating...TDIU or Schedular...rather
than a rating where future exams are scheduled.
His reply is here...
RVSR’s between a rock and a hard place at times. It is much easier to determine
the long term outcome for someone with physical disabilities.
It is not that we do not want to give a Veteran what he is entitled to but there is always
the underlying concern that we are encouraging dependence on the VA
and not providing the Veteran any motivation to become a productive member
of the workforce. A major problem with Veterans from the most recent conflict is that
many went in so young that they had no work skills in the first place. Now they are out
of the military and the question becomes whether or not the Veteran truly cannot work
nor has the potential if he or she learned some skills.
Also, we both know the job market is not that great. The general rule of thought (nothing
on paper) is that the 20-40 year old group has the potential for re-entry into the workforce.
There are occasions where it is clear that the Veteran’s mental health issues
will never get better and P&T can be granted at the time of the initial rating
decision but that it rare. Under 38 CFR 3.327, we cannot conduct a
review examination for anyone over 55 unless the
circumstances are extraordinary or mandated,as with the regulation that requires
review of a Veteran’s status 6 months after the completion of cancer treatment.
It is the age 40-55 group that is toughest to address. A couple of years ago
VBA mandated that no review examination could be conducted before
5 years unless there is special circumstance or a regulation.
If, after 5 years, the Veteran has improved, we still have to wait another
18, 24 or 36 months to get a second review before determining that improvement
is sustained. That means that if a Veteran shows even a little improvement,
he has to wait for a total of about 7 years before a final
P&T decision is made.Another reason for delaying a P&T evaluation is that there
is a time limit to chapter 35 benefits and so you want to grant that benefit
at the time it will be of the most use to the Veteran.
Under Chapter 35, dependents are allowed 45 months of full-time benefits.
Spouses have 10 years from the date of the veteran's effective date of permanent
and total disability rating or the veteran's death. Dependents' benefits end on their
26th birthday or eight years from the veteran's effective date of permanent or total
disability rating or the veteran's death, but not after the dependent's 31st birthday.
If the kids are 2 & 3, those Chapter 35 benefits won’t be of much use until many
years later. Unfortunately that delays the ChampVA benefit also. If the Veteran
with small children has a physician who will clearly state that his/her potential
for seeking and maintaining gainful employment is slim to none and the
ChampVA benefits are what is most important to him/her, a claim for
P&T can be made before the 5 year period is up.
If the Chapter 35 benefits are most important, it is in the Veteran’s best interest to
wait it out until his/her children are of age to use the benefit and then
file the P&T claim with the medical evidence.
If the Veteran does not have a strong statement from his physician or psychologist
that gainful employment is not possible, it is best for the Veteran to leave
the issue alone as there is the risk of a reduction.
I hope this explanation helps.